Mobile madness as investors look to navigate the seas of rapid technological change
A recent newspaper article on 'what men should know about dating' contained the advice:
quot;Switch off your mobile phone when you're on a first date.quot;
That rather goes to show the extent to which mobile technology has changed our lives, and not always for the better! Mobile telephony has been a growth area for the past twenty years. However, that hasn't always made money for investors - Vodafone (LON:VOD) for instance saw its share price get stuck for years in a 120-140p trading range, and has become a yield stock despite having exposure to some strong growth markets.
Nowadays, while voice traffic is seeing prices and profitability driven down, data usage is growing strongly and producing good profits for mobile networks. That's also been good news for handset manufacturers, who got a double whammy - global demand for mobile phones growing fast as new users joined networks in emerging markets, plus demand for higher specification phones as data usage became more important. (Those are not mutually exclusive trends either; India is seeing huge demand for web-capable phones, leapfrogging the stage of 'broadband in the home' to go directly to mobile broadband.). However, a spanner has now been thrown into...